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Comprehensive coverage of the food industry's latest, breaking news brought to you by just-food's leading network of international journalists.

Focus: Will Danone return to growth in dairy?

Danone has faced myriad issues at its fresh dairies business. The group has been squeezed by weak consumer sentiment in its largest markets,...

Why Nestle is relaxed about the China "drag"

Nestle's sales for the first nine months of 2014 have missed analyst expectations and the investment community pointed to China as a key fac...

Focus: Why French retail deals could hit suppliers

Against a backdrop of weak consumer confidence and falling prices, four of France's leading four retailers have, in two deals, decided to te...

BRICs and beyond: Bright's international strategy

State-backed Chinese food giant Bright Food Co. continued to make progress with its "go global, bring in" ambition when it acquired a majori...


On the money: PepsiCo's "disciplined" response to Frito-Lay market share squeeze 10 Oct 2014

Katy Askew

Frito-Lay, the North American snack business of PepsiCo, is responding to the slow erosion of its market share in a "disciplined" way, while also innovating to fend off competition from premium players,its management has insisted.


In the spotlight: FrieslandCampina moves to shore up Europe prospects 3 Oct 2014

Hannah Abdulla

FrieslandCampina this week made two major announcements in Europe, with a plan to close a plant in Belgium but also deals to buy two Italian cheese firms. The Dutch dairy giant has, like many of its peers, struggled for growth in Europe and is busy looking to right-size its business in the region for the future.


On the money: Diamond's faith in on-trend portfolio 26 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

Diamond Foods expects to return to profitability in its new financial year, pointing to the benefit of an on-trend product portfolio in the US, improved walnut supply and reduced financial costs.


In the spotlight: Fonterra's strategy to weather enduring dairy volatility 26 Sep 2014

Dean Best

After reporting a slump in Fonterra's annual profits this week, CEO Theo Spierings was at pains to tell the market the global dairy market will remain erratic. However, the head of the world's largest dairy exporter also outlined how the group plans to ride out changes in supply of and demand for milk.


Focus: How Windsor deal is part of Ajinomoto's global expansion drive 25 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

Japanese seasonings and frozen food manufacturer Ajinomoto is expanding its overseas footing. The company became the US's largest ethnic food maker in the frozen category when it acquired Windsor Quality Holdings earlier this month. The deal significantly ramps up Ajinomoto's North American presence - but it is just one step on the group's path to becoming a "global speciality company". Katy Askew reports.


Analysis: Industry awaits WHO response on beefed-up ad pledges 25 Sep 2014

Ben Cooper

Companies including Nestle, General Mills and Mondelez International this week extended voluntary restrictions on how they market food to children. Ben Cooper argues the new pledges are a step forward but wonders how the World Health Organization, which has criticised what it calls Big Food, will react.


Analysis: Does size matter in Thai Union Frozen's growth plan? 25 Sep 2014

Hannah Abdulla

Thai Union Frozen Products has rolled out an ambitious growth plan of hitting US$8bn in sales by 2020. The seafood group has embarked on what appears to be an acquisition spree - adding Norway-based King Oscar and French firm MerAlliance brands to its portfolio. It has also been linked with canned tuna supplier Bumble Bee Foods in the US. But with analysts concerned the two European buys are "insignificant" and Bumble Bee too risky, are these the right companies for TUF?


BRICs and beyond: E-tail could sidestep distribution challenge in China 23 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

Alibaba Group's massive IPO has underlined that the e-commerce trade in China is booming. Significantly for packaged food manufacturers, online retailers offer a way to circumvent some of the challenges of distribution in this massive market, enabling them to reach out directly to China's population base. However, the soaring popularity of such enterprises also means competition is intense. Food makers must battle to stand out in the crowded online marketplace. Katy Askew reports.


just the facts: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba 23 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

The successful completion of Alibaba Group's listing on the New York stock exchange has placed the firm - and e-commerce in China more broadly - in the spotlight. Here are just-food's top ten must-know facts on the Chinese e-tail behemoth.


What the analysts say: City reacts to Tesco's profit error 22 Sep 2014

Dean Best

Tesco seems to be lurching from one bad news story to another. The UK retailer today (22 September) admitted it had over-stated half-year profits by GBP250m. The timing of the accounting of payments between Tesco and suppliers is said to be a central factor. Four executives have been asked to go on leave while the retailer investigates. Tesco's shares, unsurprisingly, tumbled this morning.


On the money: ConAgra confident private-label will improve 19 Sep 2014

Hannah Abdulla

After a challenging previous financial year, ConAgra Foods yesterday (18 September) reported on the first three months of its new fiscal period. Shares in the US food group rose as it reported underlying earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts and stuck to its expectations for annual earnings - notable after 12 months that included three profit warnings.


M&A Watch: Why Danone/Lifeway deal could be on horizon 18 Sep 2014

Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden

The over 25x EBITDA valuation in General Mills' recent acquisition of Annie's clears the path for Danone, a main rival in dairy, to pay top dollar for another innovative food business in the US, which it has targeted as a growth geography. A clear candidate is Lifeway Foods, in which Danone has had a stake for many years and which the French group could feasibly grow by three times within a few years.


DATA: The just-food international basket - Q2 2014 16 Sep 2014

Dean Best

In association with IRI, the just-food international basket shows the cost of a typical range of goods in eight markets every quarter. The data also outlines trends in branded and private-label pricing, as well as the volume sold on promotion.


Shopper trends: Signs of confidence but promotions centre stage 16 Sep 2014

Martin Wood, head of strategic insight - retail, IRI

There is a sense across a number of markets that consumer confidence is improving and the latest data from the just-food international basket, compiled exclusively by IRI, shows the total cost of a shop is, on average, increasing. However, consumers are buying more products on deal and the price gap between brands and own label is shrinking. IRI's Martin Wood crunches the numbers.


Focus: What could be impact of Heinz's stevia ketchup? 12 Sep 2014

Hannah Abdulla

In a move to win over the health-conscious, Heinz has launched a stevia-based variant of its flagship ketchup in the UK - which has half the sugar content of the conventional sauce. But is this yet another gimmick to cool pressures from health organisations wanting food firms to take responsibility for the impact of their products on the public's health? Or will it really gain traction with the UK public, and if so, will this be the start of a whole new range for Heinz? Hannah Abdulla explores


In the spotlight: General Mills turns to M&A to bolster US business 9 Sep 2014

Dean Best

The US accounts for the bulk of General Mills' business and, with its operations at home under pressure, the food giant has got out the chequebook to snap up local natural and organic food maker Annie's. But is it the right move? Dean Best investigates.


BRICs and beyond: International ambitions underpin BRF, Lactalis dairy deal 9 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

The proposed sale of BRF's Brazilian dairies unit to Lactalis-owned Parmalat looks set to be a win-win for both companies. BRF is focusing on improving the performance of its core meat operations and the group would leave the transaction better positioned to step up its expansion into international protein markets. Meanwhile, Lactalis will strengthen its hand in the promising Brazilian dairy sector, leaving the company well-placed as a global dairy powerhouse. Katy Askew reports.


On the money: City has faith in UK meat firm Hilton 9 Sep 2014

Dean Best

Shares in Hilton Food Group, the UK meat supplier, took a hit today (9 September) after the company issued a note of caution about its near-term outlook. However, in the main, City analysts believe in Hilton's fundamentals.


Focus: Can Kellogg rejuvenate its US cereal brands? 8 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

Over the past ten years, Kellogg has moved to reduce its reliance on the cereal aisle, with the Keebler and Pringes acquisitions opening up the world of snacking. However, with 45% of sales still generated in cereal - and a sizeable bulk of this coming from the US - concern is mounting over the firm's inability to turn around its fortunes in the market. Katy Askew reports.


Deal or no deal: Will United Biscuits owners float or sell? 5 Sep 2014

Katy Askew

Blackstone Group and PAI Partners are progressing with plans to offload UK Jacob's-to-McVitie's manufacturer United Biscuits. The question on everyone's lips is whether the business will be floated or sold. Katy Askew reports.


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